Insulin manufacturers: Supplies stable, but ‘plan ahead’
The three U.S. manufacturers of insulin are reporting stable supplies of all diabetes medications as fears of drug shortages rise, though the companies are encouraging patients to prepare for an increase in demand and possible delays in filling prescriptions during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"COVID-19 is an unprecedented challenge for all of us, but Lilly has planned for such events," Mike Mason, president of Lilly Diabetes, said in a press release. "Our manufacturing facilities, supply chain and Lilly Diabetes Solution Center are designed to support those who rely on insulin. We are committed to providing a regular supply of safe insulin, and our solution center can provide real insulin affordability assistance for people during this difficult time, including people whose jobs have gone away. If you need help, please call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center."
In a statement released Tuesday, Lilly said the company is closely monitoring its supply chain for potential impact due to the novel coronavirus.
“We continue to monitor the situation, and our insulin manufacturing sites in the U.S. and Europe remain operational, with increased precautions in place to protect the supply of medicine and the welfare of our employees,” Lilly stated in the release. “Lilly does not source active pharmaceutical ingredients for any of our approved medicines from China.”
In a statement posted on its website, Novo Nordisk said the company has “ample supplies of medicines, including insulin,” and expects to fulfill orders and replenish pharmacies in the U.S. throughout the pandemic.
“However, because of increase in demand, there may be times when pharmacies are temporarily out of stock,” the company stated. “We are working with our distributors to ensure that there is enough inventory to fill prescriptions quickly. We encourage patients to plan ahead and know that it may take some extra time to get a prescription filled.”
On its website, Sanofi stated that the company is working to maintain the supply of all of medicines and vaccines through close collaboration with suppliers throughout the world.
“Our global network of manufacturing plants is operational, and the diversity of our global sourcing helps ensure business continuity across all our product lines,” a Sanofi spokesperson told Healio Wednesday. “At this time, Sanofi does not anticipate product shortages for patients resulting from the COVID-19 situation, including insulins.”
Lilly noted that U.S. pharmacies that temporarily do not have Lilly medicines in stock due to higher demand can order them from wholesalers.
“Lilly has received a few reports of U.S. pharmacies stating that insulin orders are not being fulfilled due to ‘manufacturer backorder,’" the company stated in the release. “Lilly has informed wholesalers and others in the supply chain that we do not have any products on backorder, including insulin. Patients should ask their pharmacist to secure an order from their wholesaler.”
The three companies offer options for people with diabetes who cannot afford their insulin.
“Anyone who has lost employment and uses Lilly insulin should call the Lilly Diabetes Solution Center at 833-808-1234 to learn about options that include access to free insulin that has been donated for people with lower incomes,” the company stated. “For people with an urgent need for insulin and nowhere else to turn, the solution center can help provide immediate help.”
For more information on Novo Nordisk insulins, call 844-668-6463 or visit www.novomedlink.com. For information on Sanofi insulins, visit www.admelog.com/insulins-valyou-savings-program or www.sanofipatientconnection.com. – by Regina Schaffer
Disclosure: Mason is president of Lilly Diabetes.